The Reason Why All The Songs On The Radio Sound The Same Might Make You Blush

TL;DR: It's our fault. But that means we also have the power to demand better music.

It's not just you; much of pop music really does sound the same. A study done by the Spanish National Research Council produced these graphs showing the increasing loudness and decreasing timbre of pop music over time.


Many people (me included) assumed that music was getting "worse" because record labels and mega-corporations that compose The Man were making it so by pre-selecting in some dusty Hollywood or New York City boardrooms what hits would go on heavy rotation on the radio.

Little did I know that with the advent of music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify, another, more sinister force would ruin popular music. Who is to blame, you may ask?

But more specifically, all of us who use those services. Facebook Likes, iTunes purchases, Spotify listens, Shazaam searches, Pandora stations, and so on are studied by the industry's researchers. They use the data they amass on our behavior to predict the next hit as well as the kinds of songs that do well. In other words, if pop music all sounds the same now, it's because we actually like it that way.


But in that problem also lays a solution. If it is we who used our listening powers to shape what the industry offers, we may also have the power to take a stand. We can use our ears and our clicks to demand better music. Will you?

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But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.